Mollie’s Story

I always knew I didn’t want to have children. I stopped worrying years ago about whether this made me abnormal, or selfish — it doesn’t. Some people want children and some people just don’t, and I’m one who just doesn’t.

Consequently, I’ve always used birth control too. I guess that’s one of the things that gets me about the pro-lifers: so many I’ve spoken to seem to think that women who get pregnant always get pregnant because they’re lazy or careless. I wasn’t. I always took birth control very seriously and usually used two methods at once; I’ve even looked into being sterilized but I always get the same response: you’re unmarried and childless, so no. Ironically, when I was 18 and went to my hometown OB/GYN for the pill I was told virtually the same thing: you’re unmarried, so no; luckily the campus womens’ clinic was more concerned about my health than condemning me morally.

I was 31 when I discovered I was pregnant. It was a shock, to say the least: as I was saying, I was always really careful and I was always told that because of an auto-immune disorder I have it would be very difficult for me to become pregnant even intentionally.

It took a while for me to even figure it out: the idea that I could get pregnant even though I was cautious with the birth control, and likely next to infertile, seemed impossible. I’d missed my period but that wasn’t unusual with my auto-immune problem. It was the so-called morning sickness that made me realize what was happening.

Suddenly I could no longer be near food at all. Even walking through the grocery would make me so nauseated I couldn’t out of there fast enough. Driving by a burger chain and smelling the food I’d have to pull over until the waves of nausea passed. I was teaching at a private two-year college at the time and just getting through my classes every day was wearing me down badly. A home pregnancy test soon confirmed the impossible, and I was on the hunt for abortion service providers.

I was living in a rural Appalachian town at the time, and the closest abortion provider I could find was about seventy miles away. I had to go once for the pregnancy test and other bloodwork, and to be counseled (as required by state law) as to the alternatives to abortion (a complete waste of my time and the counselor’s if you ask me), and to make an appointment for the actual abortion.

The earliest they could get me in was two weeks from then because they were just that busy; they could only afford the extra security they needed on days they performed abortions two days a week, and with that, and this clinic being one of the very few in the area that would perform abortions, just getting an appointment for one was a challenge.

After two more weeks of vomiting when near any food apart from soda crackers and Cheerios, the time for the appointment came at last. I drove myself to the clinic and my partner and I sat in the parking lot for thirty minutes, awaiting our turn to be escorted inside by armed guards. All the while pro-lifers circled the parking lot, praying the rosary and yelling at the girls and women arriving at the clinic. I smiled and waved at them, but it struck me how many seemed so self-satisfied by what they were doing: terrorizing young women who were sick, frightened, and making a choice no one makes lightly.

It took a long time, mostly because of the wait. There were perhaps fifty other girls there that day, most very young, I and a Saudi woman of 28 were the oldest women there by far. The worst part, I think, was the waiting. First you waited in your car until a guard could escort you inside. Then we got to wait downstairs for a while in a large waiting room all together, but as your time got closer you were taken upstairs to wait and I had to wait alone while my partner stayed downstairs as men weren’t allowed on the second floor (except when escorted by a staffer).

They’d told me to take four ibuprofin tablets before I got there that morning and to try to have a breakfast — I got the tablets down okay but the breakfast was out of the question. I’d arrived at 7 and at 1:00 the doctor was finally ready for me. My partner was brought upstairs to sit with me and so as I was on the table, he was next to me smiling sweetly at me the whole time, one hand over my heart and the other holding my hand.

It was uncomfortable, but it didn’t hurt. There was some pinching as my cervix was numbed, then some strange sucking feelings during the abortion itself, but that was it. When it was over they escorted him downstairs again and the nurse took my arm and walked down the hall with me to the “recovery room”, a dimly lit lounge with plush recliners and heating pads for us. I was given my first dose of antibiotic there, and a glass of water. As I relaxed in my recliner, cramps set in, but they weren’t really any worse than my normal period cramps.

After about forty minutes a nurse checked me and decided I could leave if I wished. I went downstairs and checked out. By now the protesters were gone-someone told me they always left about 9 to go to the other clinic in town and harass women there.

I drove myself home, and crawled into bed with another dose of ibuprofin and some welcome snuggling from my partner and slept through the rest of the afternoon. I woke up about 7 that night feeling better than I’d felt in weeks.

The bleeding lasted about four days, like a normal period except I only had cramps about the first 24 hours; the nausea was gone almost immediately.

We went out for dinner that night to celebrate, and now, two years later, I can honestly say I’ve never felt the slightest ounce of regret and I doubt I ever will. I did what was right for me and my partner, and we’re still together, still happy, and still child-free.

I’m not sorry: I’ve nothing to be sorry for.